Antonio Albacete narrowly holds off Ryan Smith to claim his fifth race win of the season...
Antonio Albacete took the final FIA European Truck Racing Championship victory of the Le Mans Bugatti weekend this evening.
The Spaniard swept to a fourth win of the season in his Trucksport Lutz Bernau MAN after thrusting to the front at the start when he got the jump on Ryan Smith as the green lights illuminated.
This was no easy victory though for Albacete as he was chased hard by Ryan Smith who tried in vain to make amends for losing out at the start.
Smith had regained ground at the first chicane seemingly by cutting it. This appeared to give him the momentum he needed to latch back on to Albacete’s tail.
The incident was reviewed by the stewards after the race but no action was taken.
For the remaining 10 laps of the race Albacete and Smith ran nose-to-tail and the pair were separated by just 0.497s at the chequered flag in a race which had the large French crowd glued to their seats.
Newly crowned champion Jochen Hahn came through from eighth on the semi-reversed grid to claim a brilliant podium position.
Hahn picked off Andre Kursim (Don’t Touch IVECO), Jose Rodrigues (Reboconort MAN) and Steffi Halm in decisive overtaking moves to finish an unforgettable weekend in which he won two races, became champion and claimed a hard-fought third place.
Halm was left to ward off the advances of Jose Rodrigues and Andre Kursim who both caught the Team Schwabentruck IVECO driver midway through the race.
Despite the Portuguese drivers best attempts, Halm remained stubborn and finished the race in fourth with Rodrigues, Kursim and Sascha Lenz (SL Trucksport) right behind her.
Adam Lacko and Rene Reinert squabbled over eighth place for most of the 11-lap event with the Czech driver just finishing ahead after many swaps for position.
Norbert Kiss had a quiet race and came in to round out the top ten in his Tankpool24 Racing Mercedes-Benz.
Anderson Takes GRAMMER Glory
The GRAMMER TRUCK CUP category saw Jamie Anderson take an accomplished victory as newly crowned champion Shane Brereton’s weekend domination ended.
Brereton made a superb start to the race and ran as high as fifth overall during the opening exchanges.
After that, Brereton lost time after suspected contact with Oly Janes’ Buggyra International Racing System Freightliner and finished fourth in class just behind Janes.
This opened up the way for Anderson to take his fifth GRAMMER TRUCK CUP win of his impressive debut season. There was a nervous wait though as Anderson was placed under investigation for an incident with Steffen Faas’ Tankpool24 Mercedes-Benz midway through the race.
Faas finished second to at least extend the gap in the standings to Oly Janes as he fights to claim vice-champion status.
Ray Coleman took fifth in class after a largely trouble free race in which his LRS MAN battled with Luis Recuenco’s Trucksport Lutz Bernau entry. The two crossed the line almost as one with Coleman shading it by just under 0.3s.
Eduardo Rodrigues (Reboconort MAN) and Erwin Kleinnagelvoort (EK Race Scania) were also close to the Coleman/Recuenco scrap and they were the final classified runners.
The only retirement of the race was Terry Gibbon whose T Sport truck was believed to have spun after contact and ended up in the turn three gravel trap. It was a tough end to an otherwise successful weekend for the British driver who scored a hat-trick of third places over the weekend.
The next and final rounds of the 2018 FIA European Truck Racing Championship takes place at Jarama in Spain next weekend.
RACE RESULT HERE